The Lung Cancer Foundation of America (LCFA) and the IASLC named Dr. Goeffrey Liu the 2010 recipient of the LCFA/IASLC Research Fellowship. Liu was selected from more than a dozen international applicants to receive the scientific research grant. He was awarded $39,000 to study the genetic differences in patients treated with anti-angiogenic agents. Dr Liu’s research endeavored to see if he could identify which patients benefit from this therapy.
Dr. Goeffrey Liu trained in medical oncology with a specialization in lung cancer at Dana Farber Cancer Institute (under Bruce Johnson), Massachusetts General Hospital (under Thomas Lynch, Jr.), and the Harvard School of Public Health (under Dr. David Christiani), and now is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Canada. A molecular epidemiologist by training, he is active in both early detection and pharmacogenetic epidemiology – looking at the interaction of how inherited genetic differences in patients affect both response and toxicity from therapy.
Dr. Liu’s proposal outlined work he intended to do in collaboration with Drs. Frances Shepherd and Ming Tsao to study genetic differences in patients treated with anti-angiogenic agents. Dr. Liu says, “It makes a lot of sense that it is inherited patient variability that governs much of the inter-individual differences in response to blood vessel-targeted therapies, as tumor infiltrating blood vessels are host-derived.” Over the next five years Dr. Liu hopes to “complete the five ongoing pharmacogenetic analyses of Phase III lung cancer clinical trials, as well as to develop and grow a Toronto pharmacogenetic epidemiology training program.” As a trained pharmacoepidemiologist, his perspective is often different from that of a clinical trialist or clinician, and this can lead to the formulation of interesting, yet relevant, research questions.